Using Data to Adapt Your Workforce


In Navigating Change in Crisis, we explore how individuals and companies are adapting to a “new normal” to keep essential services functioning. We provide actionable advice around how organizations, and ultimately the builders of data and analytic apps, are adjusting to meet these changes. These insights aim to help you and your team navigate these unprecedented times.

During the pandemic, organizations of all kinds have had to both scale up and downsize quickly. Essential services have had to expand to meet demand, with some needing thousands of new hires immediately. Other businesses have had to furlough staff, with some even cooperating with other organizations to find their staff other work, helping ease the transition to their workers’ next steps.

Technology, especially around hiring and HR, has had to evolve rapidly. New ways of working, which may have emerged years from now on their own, have become table stakes in just a few months. 

Some of these new workforce trends include: Rapidly scaling up human power, direct sourcing of talent, emergency communications, redeployment, as well as internal mobility, outplacement, and well-being/development. Key to all this is data, and those organizations that are data-driven have been on the leading edge of these changes.

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Using data today to build tomorrow’s workforce

At this time, it might be tempting to let the HR side of your metrics go. After all, a scattered workforce is hard to manage and track. However, now is not the time to lose sight of hiring data and related numbers. Instead, you can focus on making hiring even more strategic and data-driven to be ready for future organizational needs.

LiveHire and Sisense recently held a webinar on using data to adapt your workforce, and it became abundantly clear data, diversity, and technology will be vital for the workforce of the future.

As Nurit Shiber, chief people officer of Sisense, points out, diversity is vital moving forward, both in people and also in recruiting pipelines. Most HR leaders understand that with diversity comes more creativity. Channels which may have been traditionally used prior to the pandemic may not yield traditional results, and drawing your workforce from multiple channels may become the new norm.

“What is the business plan going forward? Some teams are being furloughed, some are being released, and talent leaders need to know how they build a capacity model to keep a flexible, yet data-driven capacity to keep the recruitment engine going.”

Nurit Shiber, Chief People Officer, Sisense

Alastair Schirmer, head of technology and partnerships at LiveHire, says organizations that continue to drive a hiring agenda and accelerate adoption of solutions for workforce wellbeing and mental health will be the ones that create long term engagement, and a connected workforce, which can make or break business operations into the future. 

Much like lead generation for sales, it takes a while to get the recruitment engine humming, so organizations should not turn it down altogether at this time. The far better solution is to keep recruitment and workforce management humming and start aligning the capacity model of your recruitment engine with future needs, now. 

Breaking down barriers to data-driven recruitment

Data-driven recruitment is easier said than done, and many organizations don’t consider HR and recruitment to be a data-rich area. However, data can transform HR when used in the right way.

“COVID is a people crisis and a talent crisis, HR should have a much larger voice at the table at the moment and moving forward.”

Alastair Schirmer, Head of Technology and Partnerships at LiveHire.

According to LiveHire, leadership mindset is the big issue when it comes to recruitment. Lots of businesses are in hiring freezes right now. However, this makes the present moment an excellent opportunity to review what is and isn’t working in your recruitment process. If you haven’t done so already, this is also a great time to think about your brand in the market, your hiring processes, and what needs to change to attract and retain the best staff moving forward.

Other barriers to data-driven recruitment, Schirmer said, include a limited workforce plan, or an inflexible plan, analysis paralysis and cost focus, a transactional/reactionary approach, low visibility on skills, and, of course, siloed systems and data. If any of these terms describe your HR/recruiting program, then you are in a prime position to explore why that is and start taking steps to address it.

How to improve your hiring and recruitment outcomes 

The ability to make decisions at speed is highly correlated with those who are data-driven and this naturally extends to the workforce.

Once data is un-siloed, combined data sources can give a rich visualization around recruitment efforts, beyond the simple cost-to-hire numbers. Metrics can be used to measure the eventual success of hires, where they came from, what channels are positively correlated with eventual job success, the right mix of skills to deliver maximum productivity, and a lot more. 

“This is the time we need to step up. Progressive organizations are making a lot of human-centric decisions on how we do things, what to focus on, and how to live to values.”

Nurit Shiber, Chief People Officer, Sisense

By connecting various data sources and using a visualization tool, like Sisense, these insights are not only easy to understand and use, they become a key business driver, uncovering efficiencies no one may have realized were there. 

LiveHire and Sisense recommend a few key steps to get HR data working for organizations. Initially, forward planning is crucial, including the KPIs to focus on and report against. Traditional metrics or KPIs aren’t always the best, so look at what else you can examine.

Next, understand how you will measure success. Then, get your finger on the pulse by using data and getting alerts on your agreed KPIs, so you can continually track against them and identify issues rapidly.

Finally, create joint accountability in the business, including within leadership, so everyone is accountable for metrics, not just HR. 

By using actionable insights and market-leading data visualization, organizations can get the right mix of hires from a variety of channels to stay in business now, as well as drive recruitment in the future.

Discover more about using data to adapt your workforce and hear LiveHire’s Alastair Schirmer and Sisense’s Nurit Shiber explain these key points in more detail in our on-demand webinar recording: Using Data to Adapt Your Workforce. 

Sisense for BI & Analytics Teams

David Huynh is a customer success manager with Sisense. He holds a degree in Business Information Systems and has spent the last 9 years in a variety of fields including sales and project management. David is passionate about helping businesses leverage data and technology to succeed. When not in the office, he enjoys cooking, traveling, and working on cars.